Peak Modern Visuals

Starting this post, I want to make this clear. I really like the aesthetic from older anime and modern anime. I do love the look of peak cel animated anime ovas, tv shows, and movies because there is so much great work put into them. I love how great Giant Robo looks, I love Akira and Royal Space Force for their visual work, and I can’t even tell you how great something like Cowboy Bebop is. I also like how more expressive something like Children of the Sea is, Deca-Dence, recent Masaki Yuasa works, how great Akudama Drive is, and so many other things. While I will always been blown away and slightly prefer older animation, newer computer colored animation has more capability to blow people away.

We could also talk about the bottom tier animated shows to this list too. I don’t think the animation process has gotten easier, there are just more tools available to make them easier. Gone are the days of having to invent paint colors to create something like Akira. Now we have a world where animators have an infinite number of colors to explore. Same with, at a minimum, computer assistance to get shots from cel animation could dream of doing. Plus, some cg if it’s needed or wanted for production. That means there is more opportunity to explore and experiment with recent technology to create even more mind-blowing things we probably couldn’t imagine. Exploring all of that style on that level is what peak animation is to me. Whether it’s modern or not, people using the medium to maximum is peak.

Of course, that comes into a little more information on what peak animation is. I think in today’s day and age, having cg and 2D animation in a good way makes sense. You know, unless a series is full cg and actually looks good. I don’t think that means hiding cg animation inside of 2d animation, because those with an experienced eye can notice those things. I think it requires knowing how to use it, because cg is hard in its own way too. A show like Back Arrow had some obvious cg in it, but the fact that they were used for mecha that actually had some good squash and stretch to them makes them fit. In fact, mechanical animation is a good place to put cg into play because that is a mechanical and stiffness work in a place that makes sense.

CG and 2D working together for character animation and style works exceptionally. That is part of what the wonder of Studio Wit and Ufotable do. While there is not as much seamlessness to that mixture in either production, that crazy level of animation and art that shows fluid animation beyond normal levels is exceptional. I still think about the first episode of Vinland Saga or some episodes of Demon Slayer. I also still think about Heaven’s Feel and how it merged some excellent 2D and CG in a way that I never knew it could be possibel to do. I can keep going with Gundam Hathaway as well. I think that giving tv series some leeway considering that they were on tv schedules is ok if soething is remarkably animated. Especially since vinland saga is good and Demon Slayer is at least a decent shonen watch.

What are your ideas of what peak art and animation are? I feel like an attempt at saying modern animation is bad by cherry picking the worst shows doesn’t really count. Especially since one can counter with some of the worst cell animated shows that have ever existed. There is always a bottom to how far something can go, no matter what year it is from. Same with the amount of production crap, because in my mind, the fact that there is more anime produced these days doesn’t change the ratio of good to bad. People saying that the older days were better don’t realize that there are so many anime from the older days we have never heard about because they never made it over seas for good reasons and bad reasons. These days, we get to see everything that comes out for good and for bad. Sorry for some rambling. I am really curious on what you all have to say about this.

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4 comments

  1. I’ve always thought of peak modern visuals as deep colors but it’s definitely just an artistic preference for me. So whether it’s Naruto from the early 2000s, the original Gundam, or something newer like Fate, I consider those peak visuals because the colors are very strong and grab your attention. I don’t care for animation styles that use a more pale color pallet like Digimon Tri, Summer Wars, Spirited Away, or Big Hero 6 for example. The animation can still be good but I wouldn’t consider it as peak

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